How Teach By tech is using innovation to overcome obstacles to education

In our last blog, we discussed why Teach By Tech decided to use mobile phones as means to break down barriers to education. To overcome numerous obstacles to education, women in the developing world need innovation and out of the box thinking. We recognized that mobile phones could solve many problems. Now we had to figure out how to accomplish our goal of making business education accessible to the most marginalized female populations. The question became how can we use mobile phones to deliver our business education modules when connectivity was not possible? This problem we solved with much trial and error in discovering storage capacities of various mobile phones, SD card options, videography and studio production sessions. But, the work has paid off, we have developed a hybrid model of business education curriculum that is delivered 50% in face to face to classes (1 meeting a week) and 50 % via mobile phone instruction. In order to offset the wages lost or household duties halted during the face to face instruction, we offer a meal to participants and offer childcare to participants for children 6 and under. Through our program we have attempted to solve the problems of access, time and obligations that hinder women from engaging in business education.  In our modules, designed specifically for illiterate to semi-literate women, we take women through the process of understanding what is business? to understanding profit/loss to developing marketing to business planning and management.  Women have access to video modules via mobile phones for continued learning and understanding and they receive text messages to engage them in the material and ask questions for clarification. These, both, can be accessed at any time or place allowing the women to participate at times that suit them. By using mobile phones Teach By Tech has solved the problem of connectivity and eased the burden of time allotment.

Another problem that we face is how to provide power to mobile phones. We are currently in a partnership with the IDEA Lab at Red Rocks Community College. Here students and mentors are developing a prototype of a solar paneled, portable classroom that will allow the participant women to fully charge their mobile phones during their face to face learning sessions. The solar classroom will be able to fully charge up to 13 mobile phones in a 2.5 to 3-hour period. Not only will this be an invaluable resource to Teach By Tech, it also allows students in the United States to solve real world problems while better understanding the impediments faced by many in the developing world. Engaging young people in conversations brings new ideas while promoting empathy and understanding. We are very proud and excited to foster this partnership and connect with students in the IDEA Lab.

Mobile phones also allow us to overcome the issue of inadequately trained teachers. Each module that is created is done so through extensive research and then approved by an expert in the field, in this case business education. Teach By Tech is incredibly fortunate to have very successful and generous business professionals who are willing to offer guidance and mentorship to our organization. There are possibilities and plans to train local facilitators in the communities we work in order to expand our work and meet the needs of a larger population.

Education is the driving force to solving many of the world problems. “The United Nations (UN) estimates that 70% of the 1.3 billion people in poverty worldwide are women.”[1] We believe that making educating accessible and adapting the curriculum to the specific needs of the communities we serve, we can create a ripple effect within communities that will transform societies. We do believe in the power of one to create a great change. Each woman we serve has the potential to reach economic stability and financial inclusion. With this comes a voice, confidence and the capacity to be a role model for young girls and women alike. Educating a woman can lead to greatness, not just for the individual woman but for the family she supports and the community she serves.

Help us to educate future entrepreneurs and change makers today. Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Donations of all kinds are accepted. If you speak a second language your skills are in great need. We want to provide our service in as many local languages as possible. Change a woman’s future by giving her the power of education and creating a path to economic stability and financial inclusion.

 

 

Blog post by Linnie Pawlek, founder of Teach By Tech, Inc. a 501 (c)3 organization located in Colorado, USA. To learn more about how Teach By Tech is working to make education accessible to marginalized female populations in the developing world visit our webpage: www.teachbytech.org

 


[1] “Women and Hunger Facts”. http://www.worldhunger.org/women-and-hunger-facts/